The jolly season is here again when family and friends get to share beautiful moments and exchange gifts together.
As the Yuletide and New Year celebrations are fast approaching, activities and traditions, such as travelling for vacation, attending parties/events, and giving to loved ones and neighbours, take the best part. But the state of the economy might cripple the usual ‘detty’ December vibes.
One cannot deny that the year has been pretty tough due to the economic crisis in the country and the world at large. This year, Nigeria has recorded the highest inflation rate in the last 17 years.
According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, the food inflation rate in September 2022 was 23.34 per cent on a year-on-year basis, marking an uptick from the 23.12 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The annual inflation rate in Nigeria accelerated consecutively to 20.77 per cent in September 2022 from 20.52 per cent in the previous month, which was the highest evaluation since September 2005.
Despite these statistics and reality, one can maximise one’s resources amid the crisis to enjoy a beautiful Yuletide and New Year ahead.
An economist, Dr Muda Yusuf, stated that Nigeria is currently in a season of austerity, which is challenging for most individuals and organisations, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.
This, he said, will result in a limited likelihood of extravagant celebrations due to the effect on family income. However, he added that placing priorities right and deep introspection to appreciate God for life is one way to enjoy the season regardless of limited resources.
Here are some simple, yet cogent, ways to enjoy this festive season.
Set priorities right
“To change your life, you need to change priorities,” says a popular quote. Yusuf advised families to set priorities in terms of spending. The immediate challenge for families, he said, is about the basic things: food, water, shelter, and in some cases health and transportation. He added that the festive season is not the time for buying new bags, shoes, and clothes but a time to strictly limit expenses to save up for the coming year.
Likewise, a professor of Economics, Akpan Ekpo, explained that with the state of the economy, rearranging one’s priorities was vital to have a hitch-free and pleasant celebration. He advised individuals to avoid buying expensive items or showing off during this period. Rather, they should prioritise.
Cut down on costs
Cutting down on costs and managing resources appropriately will help you stay content and prevent you from falling into debt.
Ekpo said, “Avoid borrowing to please people or spending lavishly during this period. The festive season will be over and one will have to pay back the debt. Remember the New Year is fast approaching and you might have to pay rent and children’s school fees. Do first things first.”
Yusuf added that the reality of things to be done in the coming year will dawn on people after the Yuletide, stating that it was uncertain the inflation rate would diminish in 2023.
Organise family hang-out
Creating bonding moments with friends and families is highly therapeutic. It keeps one’s mind away from imminent stress/burden. Rather than travelling to exotic spots for vacations, you can create such fun moments in places with lesser costs. An indoor or outdoor garden hang-out will be cheaper, less stressful and cosy.
The professor of Economics advised a careful selection of guests to cut down on costs when hosting events this season. He notes that one doesn’t necessarily have to invite a crowd as guests for parties.
Avoid long trips
The pressure of making money to spend extravagantly during the festivities is usually higher and this causes an increase in the crime rate. Ekpo stressed that avoiding long trips (except for emergency purposes) will not only reduce costs but prevent one from being a victim of unforeseen circumstances, such as robbery or kidnapping.
“Stay where you are and enjoy the celebration. You don’t have to travel long hours to celebrate; you can have a good time with your family in the comfort of your home,” Ekpo added.
Visit the underprivileged
Usually, putting a smile on people’s faces by visiting orphanages, prisons, and care homes should be part of the to-do list for individuals this season since it’s a period of sharing and caring. One doesn’t have to break the bank to do this. Sometimes, a mere visit or simple, basic needs/gifts could brighten their day.
Ekpo opined that making individuals in such confined homes feel loved and cared for is better than flaunting money online to show off, urging the rich to help the underprivileged during this festive period. He advised the government to pay attention to the poor by assisting them in areas of need and sharing palliatives so they can also enjoy the moment.
Gifting loved ones can sometimes be a Herculean task but there are simple mindful gifts you can give. You can gift your time to the ones you love. Take time to listen to them, have heartfelt conversations with them, engage in activities with them, and if possible, visit them. In those conversations, you get to find out the areas where they need your help.